Twitter: 360,000 Terrorism-Related Accounts Suspended Since Mid-2015

The war against terrorism is a battle of attrition, and Twitter detailed its small contribution: Some 235,000 accounts have been suspended since February for violating its policies on promotion of violence or terrorism.

The war against terrorism is a battle of attrition, and Twitter detailed its small contribution: Some 235,000 accounts have been suspended since February for violating its policies on promotion of violence or terrorism.

This follows the social network’s February announcement of more than 125,000 similar account suspensions, bringing total affected accounts to about 360,000 since the middle of last year.

Twitter provided a progress update on its efforts in a blog post:

Daily suspensions are up more than 80 percent since last year, with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks. Our response time for suspending reported accounts, the amount of time these accounts are on Twitter and the number of followers they accumulate have all decreased dramatically.

We have also made progress in disrupting the ability of those suspended to immediately return to the platform. We have expanded the teams that review reports around the clock, along with their tools and language capabilities. We also collaborate with other social platforms, sharing information and best practices for identifying terrorist content.

As we mentioned in February, and other companies and experts have also noted, there is no one “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist content on the Internet. But we continue to utilize other forms of technology, like proprietary spam-fighting tools, to supplement reports from our users and help identify repeat account abuse. In fact, over the past six months, these tools have helped us to automatically identify more than one-third of the accounts we ultimately suspended for promoting terrorism.

The social network also outlined steps it plans to take in the future:

We will continue to invest in both technology and other resources in the future, and you can expect us to update our progress regularly as part of our Transparency Report beginning in 2017.

In addition to these account suspensions, our global public policy team has expanded its partnerships with organizations working to counter violent extremism online (CVE). We work with respected organizations such as Parle-moi-d’Islam (France), Imams Online (U.K.), Wahid Foundation (Indonesia), The Sawab Center (United Arab Emirates) and True Islam (U.S.) to empower credible non-governmental voices against violent extremism. Over the past six months, we also attended government-convened summits on CVE hosted by the French Interior Ministry and the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency.

Finally, we continue to work with law-enforcement entities seeking assistance with investigations to prevent or prosecute terror attacks. Twitter responds to valid legal process issued in compliance with applicable law as explained in our law-enforcement guidelines, and we report on these government requests (in aggregate) twice a year, in our Transparency Report.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Twitter’s counterterrorism efforts?